A rupture space within a heavily industrial area, a sinuous and light shape that stands out beyond the firm roofs of the factories around it, a city of culture: the Mudec, the Museum of Cultures. The project, located in in via Tortona 56, fits in the operation of archaeological recovery of the former officine Ansaldo, built in 1904 and acquired by the city of Milan in the 90s with the aim of promoting cultural activities and allocate spaces for laboratories and creative activities.
Designed by archistar David Chipperfield, who won the contract 15 years ago but due to some bureaucratic complications it was only inaugurated in March 2015. Among the square volumes covered in zinc-titanium stands a matt crystal structure defined by a free and organic shape, which breaks the geometry and generates a covered square illuminated even during the night. Inside the building there are different spaces that offer both the visitor and the city a variety of cultural activities and services, spread over 17,000 square meters.
The building is divided in three floors without a rigorous path to follow, but with great flexibility of movement, both vertical and horizontal. A large space at the entrance: sober and austere, covered with wooden panels on the walls, a coffered ceiling and four large pillars, with the ticket office and cloakroom. To capture the visitor’s eye is the large central staircase, made of black stone, which leads with great astonishment to the real hall of the building conceived as a meeting place between cultures and communities: it’s the fluid and bright Agorà space, almost dreamlike, unexpected and engaging, a body that recalls the shape of a flower made with a steel structure covered by an opal glass that surrounds the space.
In addition to a full schedule of temporary exhibitions, from Gauguin and Barbie to the current exhibition of Joan Miró (open until September 11th 2016), Mudec offers to its visitors a rich permanent collection (free until August 31st 2016): over 7,000 works of art, everyday objects, textiles and musical instruments from all continents. The Mudec is attentive even to children offering a dedicated area in the Mudec Junior, with laboratories and multimedia stations.
A large bookshop, a design store, an auditorium as well as an elegant restaurant and a sophisticated bistro, are the additional elements that enrich the Mudec offer: a mix of international cultures, a true incubator of creativity and art.
Photo credit: Oskarda Riz & Carlotta Coppo